ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE | Dipolog’s Goodtimes Café & Art Gallery

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Portal to Goodtimes Cafe

The night was young and the stars were barely visible across the darkening sky. Two tricycles ripped across the dark streets, careening through deserted lamp-lit roads towards some good times; Dipolog City’s Goodtimes Café that is.

Goodtimes Cafe's Gateway to WeirdnessAn aging ancestral house surrounded by a thousand-square of overgrown garden was our destination. Galeria Indelecio its archway scrawled. An empty wrought iron chair stood guard across the portal, but I suspect an invisible sentinel protecting it, for the world beyond seemed so much different from ours.

Welcome at Goodtimes CafeA sun with mirrored rays opened and a floor of broken colorful tiles proclaimed that we were welcome; without hesitation, we passed the threshold of the normal into something beyond.

Entrance to the Ancestral House at Goodtimes CafeThe broken-tiled pathway, seemingly mimicking the yellow-bricked one of fairy tales, but much much odder, led us through a wishing well and into a houseful of art. Moments it announced, bugtaw it says; we went further. Carved icons, surreal landscape paintings, unframed art, columns swirling with blindfolded heads, dismembered eye, gnarly wooden furniture, strange masks, mirrors and all seeing eyes greeted us with silent hellos.

The Living Room cum Restaurant cum Art Gallery at Goodtimes CafeOn niches, low tables sat high; funky tablecloths paired with pillow cushions were framed by wooden posts wrapped in red fabric making for an intimate dinner setting. It was unfortunate though that we were not able to sample their offerings. I heard they serve mean versions of local Mindanao dishes like the slightly sweet humba, the innard dish paklay and the roasty-souped lagpang na manok.

Broken-Tiled Pathway at the Goodtimes CafeWe passed through the house, enchanted, but I guess still not enough to stay for the night as the ancestral house also doubles as lodgings for weary hippie travelers. We moved to the gardens.

The night darkened further and the vegetation surrounding the house whispered secrets. The darkness swallowed and spat me at a clearing with a central sculpture, a chapel with no denomination. Crickets chorused and the leaves sang. The darkness swirled and reminded me of a similar world somewhere off a roofdeck at the City of Pines.
Goodtimes Cafe Art GalleryI navigated the maze and found a hut full of painted canvasses. A table draped in screaming red guards the shed and surrounding it are embossed masks, swirling colors, skewed starscapes, shining psychedelic portals, mortals facing immortality and secret worlds. Broken beer bottles swung from the ceiling and shined upon the room.

Dipolog City's Goodtimes CafeWe somehow found our way back to the gate and the portal bade us fare thee well. It was such an unexpected encounter, a hippie-turned-upside-down world at this side of Dipolog City. Crazy places are beautiful places, crazy places are enchanting places. And everything is crazily enchanted at Goodtimes Café.

Dipolog Location Map

Goodtimes Café & Art Gallery
Address: C. P. Garcia St. Cor. Lopez Jaena St.
Biasong, Dipolog City
Entrance Fee: Php15.00 Adults | Php10.00 Kids

GPS Coordinates: 8.589588,123.344176
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. kung malapit lang yan eh tatambay ako eh! heaven on earth :)

    1. Haha yun nga ang layo lang kasi from Manila. But they do have a branch in Malate daw

  3. it looks like a funhouse. were the people there interesting, as well? any gypsies, fortunetellers, etc?

    1. Ed Tabancura, the artist-owner is a gypsie... Goodtimes Cafe was in Malate/Ermita before he moved to Dipolog... look for him there!

  4. Your story is well-written and accurate. I am from the USA and visited the cafe several times in 2006. Definitely a unique and pleasant experience!


    1. Thanks William! More than pleasant, it was actually surreal :)

  5. Would you know what time siya open? Thanks.

    1. Hi there, according to the Facebook page, it's always open. I'm not sure how true that is tho.